Workplace culture is something that needs to be consistently encouraged and the prevention of harassment, discrimination and bullying contributes to a healthy working environment. Despite the existence of legal frameworks and social awareness, many organisations still fail to effectively address these harmful behaviours within their workplaces. The question for today is, why do organisations fall short in addressing this? 

 

  1. Lack of awareness

 

One of the primary reasons employers fail to address workplace harassment, discrimination, and bullying is simply a lack of awareness. Some employers may not fully understand how harmful these behaviours can be, leading them to underestimate the need for proactive prevention measures.

 

  1. Complacency

 

In some cases, employers may become complacent, believing that harassment, discrimination, and bullying are not significant issues within their organisation or that existing policies are sufficient to address any problems that arise. This complacency can result in a failure to take meaningful action to prevent and address these behaviours.

 

  1. Misguided priorities

 

Employers may prioritise other aspects of business operations, such as productivity, profitability, or compliance with other regulations, over creating a positive and  inclusive work environment. As a result, efforts to prevent harassment, discrimination, and bullying may be deprioritised or neglected. Truth is the culture and commercial aspects of an organisation are intrinsically linked. The culture shouldn’t be viewed as something soft and fluffy that you only get to deal with when you have time.

 

  1. Fear of reputational damage

 

Employers may fear negative publicity or damage to their reputation if incidents of harassment, discrimination, or bullying come to light. These things can feel scary so they avoid them. This fear often leads them to avoid addressing these issues openly or to handle them internally. The subsequent impact is meaningful changes never get implemented to prevent future occurrences.

 

  1. Lack of resources

 

A lack of resources, including time, budget, and expertise, can also hinder employers’ efforts to address workplace harassment, discrimination, and bullying. Some employers may view these efforts as costly or time consuming, especially for smaller organisations with limited resources.

 

  1. Resistance to change

 

Implementing measures to prevent harassment, discrimination, and bullying may require changes to organisational culture, policies, and practices. Some employers may encounter resistance or pushback from employees, managers, or leaders who are resistant to change or who may not fully understand the importance of these efforts.

 

  1. Inadequate training and education

 

Employers may fail to provide adequate training and education on harassment, discrimination, and bullying prevention for employees, managers, and leaders. Without proper training and awareness, individuals may not fully understand their roles and responsibilities or how to effectively address these issues when they arise.

 

  1. Failure to take responsibility

 

In some cases, employers may fail to take responsibility for preventing harassment, discrimination, and bullying in the workplace. They may shift the burden onto individual employees to address these issues themselves, rather than recognising their own role in creating a safe and inclusive work environment.

 

Addressing workplace harassment, discrimination, and bullying requires a proactive and concerted effort from employers. By recognising and addressing the reasons why they may fall short in addressing these critical issues, employers can take meaningful steps to create a workplace culture that is respectful, inclusive, and free from harmful behaviours.

Tell Jane provides comprehensive training for HR professionals, leaders and employees to help understand and identify workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination. We also provide training for conducting fair, inclusive and impartial workplace investigations in-house. Discover more by emailing hello@telljane.co.uk.

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